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Pennsic Produce

August 23, 2017

Pennsic Produce used to be the name of the small fresh market that the Cooper’s Lake Campground ran in the main merchant area.  You could get fresh fruit and vegetables and a few baked goods, which was always nice.  A few years ago, the campground built a new facility that new serves as the location for many kingdom courts and other activities like the A&S Display, and also repurposed the old “Barn” structure into the Penn Market, which sells a much wider array of fresh fruit and veg as well as meats, cheeses, freshly baked goods (mmm, pepperoni and cheese rolls) and a wide variety of camping supplies.

That being said, here are two Pennsic-related projects, one from before Pennsic and one from just after.

First, the scroll I did for Middle Kingdom court – and Order of the Willow, given for accomplishment in the arts.  At some point before Pennsic, I stumbled on the website for the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.  Scribes, beware – this is a tremendous rabbit hole!  Happily, the library has digitized about 650 manuscripts from their collection, so there’s a lot to look at.  I spent a little too much time over a week or so clipping illuminated letters from the Canterbury Psalter, a mid-12th century manuscript produced at Christ Church, Canterbury.  There’s a wide selection of the alphabet here, full of lovely colors and wonderful regular patterns.
B det 2
For this scroll, I used a letter B as the main initial, with large colored capitals for the first few lines and then also later in the text for the recipient’s name.  I also used smaller colored capitals for many sentences, a common 12th century technique.

I’m pretty happy with the way this all turned out, though I need to be careful with my white lining, as usual.  While the Willow is not insignificant, for a more “advanced” award, I might also use gold leaf instead of gouache for the gold elements.


The willow device also turned out quite well and makes a dramatic contrast with the other colors of the lettering around it.

I filled in the lower part of the scroll with a simple border device also found in other 12th century examples, this one from MS Egerton 608 at the British Library.

Several people who saw the scroll when it was awarded spoke to me very kindly afterward and complemented my work, which is always nice to hear!Scroll 1
While at Pennsic, I had good intentions for several classes I thought of taking.  I made it to several of them, including a class on the Japanese art of temari – small thread-wrapped balls that have become a traditional New Year’s gift.  While we didn’t make it quite through making one of the balls in the class, there’s plenty of information available online and I was able to complete my sample at home.

Pennsic 2017This ball is based on a smooth styrofoam core that’s about 2″ in diameter.  I think the perle cotton I used for the embroidered design is perhaps a little too bulky for this size ball, but it still turned out rather well for a first attempt.  I could certainly tell which half of the design I did first – the second effort came out a lot tighter and more precise than the first!

Of course, this is another rabbit hole craft to fall down!  There are a great many temari patterns out there, and lots of beautiful color combinations to try, so I may experiment with a few more of these.  I have lots of thread around and styrofoam balls aren’t that expensive!


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